Australia has moved a step closer to ensuring independent monitoring, inspection and oversight of places of detention. On 28 February 2012, the Commonwealth Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, and then Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Craig Emerson, tabled a National Interest Analysis (‘NIA’) on Australia’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The NIA has been referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties for inquiry and report as to the national interest in ratification.
DUAO - 2012 - Vol 37(2)
Developments around the country
DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has recently been established, mandated by the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011. Under section 7 of the Act, the Committee has two primary functions:
- to examine Bills, existing Acts and Legislative Instruments for compatibility with human rights and to report to both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament on that issue; and
- to inquire into any matter relating to human rights which is referred to it by the Attorney-General, and report to both Houses of the Parliament on that matter.
The High Court has missed a major opportunity to strengthen and uphold the rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press in the case of Wotton v Queensland  HCA 2 (29 February 2012).
Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights will be retained following the tabling of a Baillieu government statement on its future on 14 March 2012. According to the statement, ‘the Government is strongly committed to the principles of human rights and considers that legislative protection for those rights provides a tangible benefit to the Victorian community’.